Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2000-word Group Assessment Research Report  50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Pre-seen exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment individual research report in lieu of group assessment  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   Pre-seen exam  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key distinctions and relationships between sub-disciplines in psychology and the historical development of contemporary psychology.
2. Critically assess the contribution of different psychological perspectives to the understanding of human behaviour.
3. Critically evaluate the controversies of psychological research and practice and the contribution of psychology to contemporary society.
4. Demonstrate understanding of the role of philosophy in science.
5. Discuss the development of, and need for, ethical guidelines and practice in psychology.

Brief description

The module covers a number of conceptual and historical issues that attempt to place psychology and its development in its socio-historical context.


This module provides an introduction to psychology for the non-specialist and assumes no prior knowledge of psychology. It provides students with an overview of the evolution of psychology as a discipline and its emergence and development as a science.


This modules content covers a number of past and ongoing issues in Psychology, and includes: Scientific Racism in Psychology Nature Nurture debates in Psychology Pre-history and human development Brain and human development Psychology and its public image What is scientific about Psychology? What should be history of Psychology’s subject matter?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance Throughout the module students must engage in further reading to develop their understanding of the breadth of the field. Further reading will be evidenced in their assessments and examinations
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be required as part of their assessment to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and PsychLit).
Personal Development and Career planning Completion of the module will provide a broad context to understand the evolution and development of contemporary psychology which will be invaluable for students when they are making post-graduate career choices.
Problem solving Students will learn how to respond to a specific problem set for them and use research to resolve their problem.
Research skills The students will have engaged in a significant amount of research database searches relative to other modules to develop their ability to research and decide appropriate evidence. This is evaluated in their assessments.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module.
Team work Management of self and others is a requirement in order to complete their assessment. Students will engage in group work to demonstrate the successful completion of a research question.


This module is at CQFW Level 4